From MOOC to AERA Round Table Discussion

I enrolled in Kevin Werbach’s 2012 Coursera Gamification course because I am interested in learning about anything that can be used as a tool to motivate people to learn; be they students or teachers. Little did I know it would also provide a path to my first American Educational Research Association round table discussion.

I’ve been following the MOOC phenomena since I enrolled in Dr. Thrun’s and Dr. Norvig’s AI course in 2011. While I did not complete the course, I was intrigued by the ability to learn one topic along with so many others, all covering material at pretty much the same pace. This made for some lively discussions on the various message boards and I began to see Connectivism in action. Much of what I learned developed from those multiple conversations as resource upon resource was provided by students and instructors.

When I saw that Mr.. Werbach was going to offer a course on Gamification I was very excited, and that excitement grew as the class lived up to my expectations. I don’t mean for this post to become an ad for his course. But I do want to state that quality teaching and learning can be experienced within a MOOC community. The guest speakers, literature provided on the pros and cons of gamification, Werbach’s teaching presence on the videos, and the resources provided by other class members on the course wiki page all contributed to a well-rounded introduction to the topic as well as providing avenues for further learning.

I took what I learned from Werbach’s course and used that information to propose a plan to help teachers create and sustain an online community of practice. There are still many teachers who are uncomfortable with technology, Web 2.0 tools in particular. Therefore many do not really take to wikis or other collaborative online platforms. I won’t spell out the details here; you’ll have to go to San Francisco at the end of April for that as my paper was accepted for a new In-Progress Research Round Table discussion geared towards graduate students.

It’s very exciting to have one’s first conference participation occur at AERA. I will continue to learn more about gamification so that I can “do the course proud” when I do discuss the details this April

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About Cynthia Clark

I hold a doctorate in curriculum & instruction, with an emphasis in educational technology and science education. I work for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas as the Evaluation and Assessment Specialist for the Center for Research, Evaluation, and Assessment. My current research interests include qualitative responses to course evaluations, both the development of open-ended items and their subsequent analysis.
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